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April 4, 2019 | 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Undergraduate Library, David Adamany Bernath Auditorium | Map
5155 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff

The Office of the Vice President for Research is pleased to host the next Water@Wayne seminar on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 2:30 p.m to 4:00 p.m. in the Bernath Auditorium located in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library. The seminar is free and open to the public; registration is requested.

The Water@Wayne Seminar Series presents "Contaminants of Emerging Concern, Water Quality, and Human and Ecosystem Exposure: Recent research by the United States Geological Survey" with Edward Furlong, Ph.D., United States Geological Survey, National Water Quality Laboratory. 

Dr. Furlong received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical oceanography (geochemistry) from the University of Washington, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Chemistry at Indiana University, working with Professor Ronald A. Hites. He joined the U.S. Geological Survey, National Water Quality Laboratory in 1987. Since then, his research has focused on the development of state-of-the-art mass spectrometry techniques for analysis of trace organic compounds of environmental interest, including pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides, and their transformation products.


Since 1998, the U.S. Geological Survey has been developing and expanding its analytical capabilities to measure pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) in a variety of environmental matrixes. To date the USGS has determined and reported more than 200 CECs in over several thousand samples from across the United States, and the number of CECs that are being determined continues to expand. This national sample data set a wide range of water types and climatic and hydrologic conditions. Early research provided the first nationwide data on the occurrence of CECs in water resources of the United States, which documented that CECs are commonly present in streams and, to a lesser extent, aquifers, particularly at sites that are immediately downstream and down gradient of contaminant sources. Some of the most frequently detected compounds included cholesterol, DEET (insect repellent), caffeine (stimulant), triclosan, and tri(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (fire retardant). A number of commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals, such as antidepressants commonly used heart medications, and antibiotics also are frequently detected at ng/L concentrations. The routine detection of multiple CECs suggests that focused research efforts would improve understanding of the fate and effects of these compound mixtures on human and
ecosystem health.

Two recent studies are described in this presentation that focus on the potential for ecosystem and human exposure. The first study is a national-scale study that evaluated the presence and distribution of pharmaceuticals, perfluorinated compounds, microbial contaminants and other CECs in drinking water sources and the treated water produced from these sources. The goal of this study was to provide a baseline for estimating potential human exposure to CECs. The results, published beginning in 2017 as a series of papers, have shown that a wide variety of CECs can be present in drinking water sources. However, many, but not all, CECs are reduced to concentrations below current abilities to measure during drinking water treatment. There also are regional differences
in the signature of some CECs in source waters that may be of monitoring interest.

The second study discussed involves the application of high-resolution mass spectrometry techniques, commonly referred to as Nontarget Analysis, to better characterize the full complexity of CECs and other trace organic compounds in water samples. In this study, a well characterized stream reach, receiving wastewater discharge with a downstream drinking water intake, was sampled seasonally using a Lagrangian sampling design to track the movement of a water parcel through the reach and to the intake. Using this approach with standard and nontarget analysis, a more comprehensive assessment of contaminant types potentially contributing to observed water quality
effects was identified.

A short reception will immediately follow the seminar.

For more information about this event, please contact Kayla Watson at 3135775600 or